Texas Instruments TI-89 ViewScreen™

Date of introduction:  1998 Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  ($160.00 in 2001)  Display size:  100 * 160 pixels
Size:  7.2" x 3.2" x 0.80"
 182 x 81 x 20 mm3
Weight:  6.7 ounces, 190 grams Serial No:  1270V00121
Batteries:  4*AAA + CR1620 (35mA) Date of manufacture:  mth 01 year 2000 (C)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan (I)
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: MC68SEC000
 ASIC: TI REF 200C040
 Flash: LH28F160
 RAM: 2*TC55V1001
Program steps:  188k Bytes, 702k Bytes Flash ROM Courtesy of:  Mark Bollman

The TI-89 ViewScreen Calculator (VSC) is the teacher version of the standard TI-89. It connects with a special port to a ViewScreen panel via a cable. Placing the panel on the overhead projector enlarges the image of the handheld screen so that each student can follow along. 

The display of the TI-89 sports 100 * 160 dots compared with the 64 * 128 dots of the TI-86 or the 64 * 96  dots of the TI-83 Plus. As a consequence introduced Texas Instruments different ViewScreen panels.

Four ViewScreen panels were available in 2008:
Panel 1: TI-73 VSC, TI-73 Explorer VSC, TI-80 VSC, TI-82 VSC, TI-83 VSC,
   TI-83 Plus VSC, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition VSC, TI-84 Plus VSC,
   TI-84 Plus Silver Edition VSC
Panel 2: TI-89 VSC, TI-89 Titanium VSC, TI-92, TI-92 Plus, Voyage 200
Panel 3: TI-85 VSC (2nd design), TI-86 VSC
Panel 4: TI-Nspire, TI-Nspire CAS, TI-Nspire Touchpad, TI-Nspire CAS Touchpad

As an alternative the TI-Presenter video adapter connects to a TV or other projection device with a video input port. 

From a technical point of view the TI-89 VSC is almost identical with the students TI-89. The first difference you notice is a slightly changed bottom shell of the calculator housing to accommodate the ViewScreen connector.

Dismantling the TI-89 VSC manufactured in January 2000 reveals a printed circuit board (PCB) known as TI-89 Hardware Version 2. The Application Specific Microcomputer SC414181 of the original Hardware Version 1 was replaced with by a standard MC68SEC000 microprocessor with an additional ASIC for the glue logic. The memory section of the TI-89 VSC is compromised by two 128kx8 bits RAM chips and one huge 1Mx16 bits Flash ROM. 

An additional PCB is connected with a short piece of flat-cable to the display board. This PCB basically buffers the signals of the LC-Display and feeds them to the external ViewScreen connector.

A deeper exploration of the display drivers shows the unbelievable high density of electrical connections between the display controllers manufactured by Sharp, Japan and the graphics screen.

A serial port of the calculators allows the connection to the Calculator-Based Laboratory system CBL, its successor CBL 2, the Calculator-Based Ranger CBR and its successor CBR 2. Texas Instruments announced June 2002 an optional full-sized QWERTY Keyboard for a more convenient entry of notes into the handhelds.

Don't miss the colorful slide cases developed for the TI-83 Plus, they fit on the TI-89 ViewScreen, too.


The two different hardware revisions of the TI-89 VSC are known as HW1 and HW2. You can check the HW version of your TI-89 VSC using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:  

[F1] [A]

Please notice that HW1 revisions report just the ROM version while HW2 reports the hardware revision, too. Main differences between HW1 and HW2 are the display access (Direct Memory Access vs. Memory Mapped IO), processor speed (10 MHz vs. 12 MHz) and limitations of the assembly program size).


1.00 (July 27, 1998)
1.05 (June 2, 1999)
2.03 (December 8, 1999)
2.04 (March 11, 2000)
2.05 (July 5, 2000)
2.06 (not released)
2.07 (not released)
2.08 (July 29, 2002, recalled and re-released February 20, 2003)
2.09 (March 27, 2003, actual in February 2008)

Advanced Mathematics Software v2.09 

You can check the ROM version of your TI-89 VSC using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[F1] [A]

Information provided by and Xavier Andréani.

Exam acceptance:

Since the TI-89 VSC lacks a QWERTY keyboard it is permitted (as of September 27, 2007) for use on SAT, PSAT and AP exams. Calculators with computer algebra system (CAS) functionality are not allowed on ACT exams.


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© Joerg Woerner, February 13, 2008. No reprints without written permission.